THIS IS LOVE: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. –1 John 4:10-12
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out His commands. THIS IS LOVE for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. –1 John 5:1-5
This generation does not know what it means to love. Good thing the Bible actually says it twice: “this is love” (1 John 4:10) and “this is love” (1 John 5:3). Scripture tells us exactly what love is, where it comes from, what its parameters are, what its nature is, what its objects are, and how it is expressed. The reason for this is extremely important: it is a mark of salvation, without which the apostle John says, nobody can really know for sure if they’re saved from Hell: “Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:7-8). In other places of Scripture, the phrase “born of God” is an expression of salvation, as in the case of being “born again” or being “born of the Spirit” to a new life of faith in Christ and holy living (John 3:6-7). Conversely, the apostle Paul writes of the Day of Judgment, “When the Lord Jesus is revealed from Heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8).
Real Christians are born of the Spirit into a new life of righteousness and holiness, obedience to God’s commands, and obedience to the Gospel, which is faith in the cross as a sacrifice for our sins, for our justification and forgiveness, and a new life in which the morals of Christ are lived out honestly and sincerely (Matthew 5-7, etc).
The secular concept of love always removes these conditions:
1. It does not have the Holy Spirit.
2. It is not holy.
3. It is not related to God’s commands.
4. It does not involve obedience to the Gospel (faith in the cross).
5. It is not related to the commands of Christ in the New Testament.
Worldly, secular concepts of love involve temporary, natural affection, but they do not last: they are temporary and natural…of the flesh, and not from the Holy Spirit of God, who is love (1 John 4:8; Romans 5:5). For example, drinking buddies sometimes take care of their friends when they are very DRUNK…they “care” for them by holding up their heads above the toilet as they are barfing out their guts. But these drinking buddies won’t advise them to stop drinking their wits out, or mention they are degrading themselves in trashy behavior, they won’t warn them against liver damage or alcohol poisoning, or tell them about rehab centers for alcoholism. That is not Biblical Christian love. Obviously.
Secular love takes on a “non-judgmental,” politically correct idea: at least when it comes to morals and religion. But nobody is truly non-judgmental. If you go out and live in the world, you will find people are just as judgmental as Christians are, only with their own set of standards. Instead of Christians judging people about idols, blasphemy, hate, adultery, fornication, drunkenness, lying, and covetousness–friends and associates and family members of a worldly spirit will judge people on their economic status, their physical appearance, their personal interests and hobbies, and whether they are funny enough to keep company with…and it always tends to favoritism.
The real Christian makes righteous judgments (John 7:24).
The worldly person judges people based on whether they will contribute to the pursuit of a fun life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, eating, drinking, and over all, being merry…and then they die and go to HELL FOR ETERNITY.
God loved us first, and in the circumstances in which we lay: Herein is love (unusual unprecedented love), not that we loved God, but that He loved us, 1 John 4:10. He loved us, when we had no love for him, when we lay in our guilt, misery, and blood, when we were undeserving, ill-deserving, polluted, and unclean, and wanted to be washed from our sins in sacred blood…That He gave us His Son for such service and such an end. (1.) For such service, to be the propitiation for our sins; consequently to die for us, to die under the law and curse of God, to bear our sins in His own body, to be crucified, to be wounded in His soul, and pierced in His side, to be dead and buried for us (1 John 4:10); and then, (2.) For such an end, for such a good and beneficial end to us–that we might live through Him (1 John 4:9), might live for ever through Him, might live in Heaven, live with God, and live in eternal glory and blessedness with Him and through Him: O what love is here! –Matthew Henry
And that He was thereby induced to give His Son to be a propitiation for our sins. No: we were enemies to God, and yet Christ died for our ungodly souls. (See Romans 5:6-11, and the notes there.) It was God’s love, not our merit, that induced Him to devise means that His banished might not be expelled from Him. –Adam Clarke
Comments on 1 John 5:3: “THIS IS LOVE”
How we may learn the truth of our love to God–it appears in our holy obedience: When we love God, and keep His commandments, 1 John 5:2. Then we truly, and in Gospel account, love God, when we keep His commandments: For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and the keeping of His commandments requires a spirit inclined thereto and delighting herein; and so His commandments are not grievous, 1 John 5:3. Or, This is the love of God, that, as thereby we are determined to obedience, and to keep the commandments of God, so His commandments are thereby made easy and pleasant to us. The lover of God says, “O how I love Thy law! I will run the way of Thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart” (Psalms 119:32), when thou shalt enlarge it either with love or with thy Spirit, the Spring of Love.” –Matthew Henry
This the love of God necessarily produces. It is vain to pretend love to God while we live in opposition to His will…To love Him with all our heart, and our neighbour as ourselves, are not grievous–are not burdensome; for no man is burdened with the duties which his own love imposes. The old proverb explains the meaning of the apostle’s words, Love feels no loads. Love to God brings strength from God; through His love and His strength, all His commandments are not only easy and light, but pleasant and delightful. On the love of God, as being the foundation of all religious worship, there is a good saying in Sohar Exod., fol. 23, col. 91: “Rabbi Jesa said, how necessary is it that a man should love the holy blessed God! For he can bring no other worship to God than love; and whoever loves Him, and worships Him from a principle of love, him the holy blessed God calls His beloved.” –Adam Clarke
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the Law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law. –Romans 13:8-10